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Matthew Phifer, Vice President, Education & Employment Services
Matthew Phifer’s passion for social services began in 1999 at Binghamton University. As an undergraduate, he was a teaching assistant for numerous Sociology and Africana Studies courses, which galvanized his passion for addressing the systemic ‘isms’ that persist to this day. While enrolled in college, he worked as a part-time Family Life Specialist for the Children’s Home of Wyoming Conference, where he saw the connections between his studies and the harsh realities of poverty, marginalization, and lack of resources. As a first generation Educational Opportunity Program college student himself, Matthew’s own experiences helped reinforce the importance of educational equity, critical thought, culturally responsive pedagogy, and social emotional learning, particularly within young inner city communities of color. Upon graduation he joined the Henry Street Settlement as a Case Manager for the New Beginnings Alternative High School at the Boys and Girls Republic. He was responsible for counseling youth with severe attendance issues and one-year suspensions, as well as providing referrals and managing academic interventions with students. During his tenure at Henry Street, Matt worked as the coordinator for the Summer Youth Employment Program, Director of Adolescent Education Services, and eventually Director of Education Services where he oversaw Henry Street’s adolescent, early childhood and after-school elementary educational services, which provide results-driven academic enrichment programming to more than 2000 youth annually. In his previous role as CollegeSpring’s New York Executive Director, he oversaw partnership development, fundraising, site management, and program execution. Matthew holds two BAs in Africana Studies and Sociology, as well as a Masters in Social Science with a concentration in Public Administration.


Brian McCollam, Director of Education Services, has worked in youth social services since 2003. He oversees Henry Street’s Early Childhood Education, After School & Camp Services, High School & College Success, and Youth Opportunity Hub. Brian is an LMSW who joined the Henry Street team in 2010 and holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and sociology from the University of Virginia and a master’s degree in social work from New York University.


Aaron Cummings, Director of Child Programming, joined Henry Street in 2015, with ten years of experience in youth development and the nonprofit sector. His responsibilities include overseeing all after-school and camp programs, and maintaining cohesive partnerships with program stakeholders to ensure that youth and family needs are met. Aaron is a graduate of Adelphi University, where he completed his bachelor’s degree in exercise science, and his master’s degree in sports management. Before joining Henry Street, he served as a COMPASS Program Manager for the Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD).


Leonor Colon, Assistant Director of Afterschool and Camp Services, is a native of the Lower East Side and has been with the agency since 1998. She currently oversees all Boys & Girls Republic and Jacob Riis Cornerstone programming. Leonor received her Bachelor’s degree in education from City College.


Maribeliz Ferrer, Assistant Director of Afterschool and Camp Services, has 10 years of experience working in youth development, education related services, and the nonprofit sector. For the last five years, she has worked in afterschool programs and camps throughout New York City. Maribeliz is a graduate from Walden University where she completed her master’s degree in public administration and is currently pursuing her PhD in public policy and administration.


Elisa Kaplan, Youth Opportunity Hub Program Director, joined Henry Street in 2019 because she believes in the Hub’s inspiring, holistic, creative model of youth empowerment. She believes absolutely in Henry Street’s social justice vision of a world where all young people have the tools and resources they need to successfully transition to adulthood. Elisa has over 15 years of experience working with young people, and has devoted her Social Work career to building strong programs that both meet the needs and amplify the voices of people most directly impacted by social injustices. Elisa is a LMSW who earned her Master’s in Social Work from Hunter College and her BA in Sociology is from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Elisa is also a Doula.


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